I took a look at the latest 48-hour reports on the Secretary of State website, and things haven’t changed much since the last time I looked about 10 days ago. The race for Agriculture Commissioner has become the battleground among the statewide races.
State law requires that 39 days before election day that campaign committees report within 48 hours any contributions over $500. In this election cycle, that means campaigns had to start reporting those contributions on September 25th. This chart shows what each candidate has received in contributions over $500 since September 25th through this evening.
The last time I looked at the 48-hour reports Taylor had a lead over Goehring, but now the Republican has edged ahead.
I can tell you that Republicans I’ve spoken to feel Taylor’s latest television ad is an effective one, and Goehring has raised significant funs to but a rebuttal on the air.
The rest of the statewide races are pretty quiet. It has been bewildering why Democrats haven’t put money into Tax Commissioner candidate Jason Astrup’s campaign against Republican Ryan Rauschenberger. The incumbent spent a month of the campaign cycle in rehab, yet that just hasn’t translated into financial support for the Democrat challenger.
Astrup has raised the most in 48-hour contributions among Democrats not named Ryan Taylor, but that’s still just over $10,000. Not enough to do much of anything, especially in state advertising market made very expensive by a ton of spending on ads for the 8 measures on the November ballot. And Rauschenberger, already with a heavy cash advantage over Astrup, has put up over $12,000 in 48-hour contributions of his own.
At this point, I’ve got to think there’s something about Astrup that Democrats simply don’t like. He was good enough as a sacrificial lamb candidate they expected to lose, but now that he has a chance to actually win they don’t seem to want to back him. Just to put this into perspective, despite having a wide-open opportunity to take a statewide seat from a Republican who landed himself in scandal – a seat the last three Democrat Senators of North Dakota have held – Astrup has raised less than $50,000 in reported contributions to date. Erin Oban, the wife of Democrat Executive Director Chad Oban who is running for the state Senate in Bismarck, has raised over $80,000.
No, the Democrats must not like Astrup at all.
Anyway, back to the Ag Comissioner race, Fargo Forum‘s polling had Goehring with an 18-point lead over Taylor. The SAB/Valley News Live polling had Goehring up 10 points. But that polling is going on two weeks old now, and while 10 points is a steep climb for a candidate like Taylor who got just 35 percent of the vote in 2012 when he ran for governor, it’s not insurmountable.